Tuesday 8 February 2011

Terre Fauve

Between the tumbling slopes and steep pine-bristled ravines, the sea was a constant companion. Its dazzle lifted the letters off the pages of my walking guide until I could see precisely how each black mark was stamped on the soft paper.
                                                        from The Lantern
This bold Fauvist-inspired painting by Rahim Najfar is a masterly understanding of landscape lit by summer sun in the south of France. This is the burning light that sears every edge between tree and sky, earth and scrub, setting disparate elements jangling and competing. Opposites sizzle against opposites in a joyous display of the colour wheel: blue versus orange; red versus green; yellow versus purple.

Born in Iran, Rahim Najfar works in the picturesque village of Bonnieux, high on its hill and topped by a defiant church spire. Across the valley, one of the many that ripple the Luberon ridge, is Lacoste with its ruined castle once owned by the Marquis de Sade.

A stroll up the steep winding streets of Bonnieux will bring you to Najfar’s studio and exhibition space in Place Carnot. From spring to autumn the door is always open. His landscapes are big, powerful statements: some completely abstract, some with Persian-influenced borders which seem to tell his journey here, from his birthplace in Teheran, an academic career as professor of art and drawing at the universities of  Farabi and Teheran, to teaching at Aix-Marseille, and becoming an artist who has lived for many years in Provence and exhibited widely abroad.

Terre Fauve, the picture above, is redolent of a slightly more southern landscape, where umbrella pines flower against the penetrating blue of Riviera skies. It’s the countryside down towards the sea at Marseille and Cassis where the much-loved French writer Marcel Pagnol spent his boyhood and recaptured in La Gloire de Mon Pere.

But you can still be surprised where we are by paths that seem warmed by their own micro-climate, and have the look and scent of the coastal south. Pines smell stronger, as does the wild thyme. On such a path the low spreading juniper bushes release the sharp tang of gin and the dry earth beneath your feet seems salted with sand.

For Rahim Najfar’s website, click here. His studio-shop in Bonnieux also sells limited edition prints and a wide selection of his pictures printed on cards.


la fourchette said...

What a delicious description of this region - from the broad stroke to the details of what's underfoot. I'll have to make a note of this and peek in at Mr. Najfar's studio the next time I'm in Bonnieux.

Your website is lovely, Deborah. That image is perfectly inviting.

Dianne said...

You have captured in words this beautiful corner of the world - in ways the soft and golden hues are a backdrop for the more vibrant. Bonnieux is one of my favourite little villages in the area. Must go check out Najfar's site

Bunched Undies said...

Excellent post Deborah.
Najfar's style reminds me of my favorite local painter John Nieto, who has adopted the Fauves style to traditional Native-American imagery.


Thank you for the enjoyable reading.

litlove said...

As ever, I feel transported away from the grey, dreary fens to a world of colour and light. Beautiful post, and lovely painting, such a hot, vibrant palette.

Leovi said...

I like much the colors, reminds me in some way to Wassily Kandinsky Wassilyevich. If you'd like to compare it with this work which I send you this link .. A hug


Adiante said...

Belle évocation de ces paysages ...

Deborah Lawrenson said...

I'm so glad you all like this painting as much as I do.

Leslie and Dianne, it's not hard find Mr Najfar's studio in Bonnieux, do go. You'll find such good things inside.

Bunched(!) and Leovi, I've had a good look at both links and it seems to me what they all have in common is the same "hot, vibrant palette" as litlove so beautifully puts it. Some people like wishy-washy watery colours, and some love strong tones and bold statements. I'm defintely the latter.

Merci bien, Adiante. Anyone who loves the natural beauty of gardens and plants should clink on Adiante's link tout de suite!

Krista said...

Beautiful Imagery and the colors are lovely!

L'Adelaide said...

thank you for creating such a beautiful world in word and image as well as introducing me to this delicious art...i spent an hour looking and drooling as well did i spend much time here on your blog, so much to take in, so little time in which to do it. lovely of you to leave me a note on my neglected little blog, thank you for that and for leaving me the trail back here to your place in the sunshine of dreams.

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